Guarding Against Debit & Credit Card Fraud
It’s no surprise the credit and debit cards are so popular. They’re simple, easy to use, and accepted almost everywhere. But this popularity has also made them a common target for thieves and fraudsters. In 2019 alone, more than 270,000 people fell victim to credit card fraud. The consequences can be serious, from financial loss to damage to your credit (not to mention the stress).
Fortunately, there are some key steps you can take every day to help reduce your risk of fraud or identity theft due to a lost or compromised card. Here are a few proven ways to protect your plastic.
1. Be Cautious at the ATM
ATMs are convenient and allow you to get cash, make deposits, and check your account balances without having to enter a branch. But you’ll need to be careful when you use them.
Pay attention to your surroundings. Shield the PIN pad from view so no one can see what you’re entering. If you’re making a withdrawal, count your money once you’re back in your car rather than doing so in full view of anyone nearby.
When using any ATM or payment terminal (especially outdoors, like at gas pumps), be on the lookout for any sign of tampering. Criminals can use card skim devices – which are affixed to the card reader – to steal payment information from unsuspecting users. If the card reader appears loose or sticks out farther than normal, don’t use it. If you need to access an ATM, it’s best to use your financial institution’s local branch, where ATMs are monitored more closely.
Protecting your debit card should also be a priority away from the ATM. Never share your PIN with someone else, and choose a number that’s difficult to guess. Combinations like your birthday or “5678” are too simple and easy to guess if the card falls into the wrong hands.
2. Check Your Statement Often
The sooner you can report credit card fraud or other types of fraud, the better. Monitor your account and credit card statements for unfamiliar transactions. Here at American Heritage, our members can review transactions and statements through our Online Teller or Mobile Teller app.
It’s also a good idea to request a free copy of your credit reports by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. Reviewing your credit report can help you spot issues or unfamiliar credit lines that could be a sign of identity theft.
3. Report Lost or Stolen Cards Immediately
Misplaced card? It happens. Just make sure that you act right away to avoid having the card fall into the wrong hands. Our members can report the loss and request a replacement card by logging in to our Online Teller or calling our Member Service team.
4. Monitor & Manage Your Cards Online
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could easily find out about account transactions or manage your card remotely? American Heritage members can.
Set up eAlerts through our Online Teller for customized alerts that are sent to your phone or email to let you know about account activity. This extra level of oversight is a great way to identify potential issues that could be a sign your card or account was compromised.
If anything happens to your debit card, you can use American Heritage’s Card Controls tool to deactivate the card with the push of a button. You can also set how and where the card can be used, submit travel notifications, and more. It’s a great safety feature that makes it a breeze to manage your card right from your phone.
5. Don’t Carry All Your Cards at Once
It’s not uncommon to have multiple credit or debit cards, but who says you have to carry them all in your wallet at the same time? Keeping a few cards securely at home is a smart way to reduce the hassle of canceling all your cards if your wallet is lost or stolen.
Instead, carry only the cards you use most often or add these cards to your smartphone’s mobile wallet, which lets you make purchases from the card at any store that accepts contactless payments – without needing to carry the card with you.
6. Be Safe Online
Shopping online is certainly convenient, and most web browsers make it easy to save your credit and debit card information for future purchases. Though it’s easier than entering your card information again, don’t store your card information in your internet browser – particularly if other people have access to your computer.
Also, only use your card to make online purchases with businesses you trust, and be sure to use a strong password for your account (and change it periodically).
Committed to Your Security
At American Heritage, keeping your finances and personal information secure is our primary concern. If you believe your American Heritage account or card was compromised, be sure to contact our team right away.